Microsoft Launches Maren, a Native Windows Arabic Transliteration
Microsoft today launched Maren a native windows transliteration that works in all most all windows application without a need for an internet connection.
As we have mentioned in past blog posts, Arabizi which is writing Arabic in Latin characters is popular especially among the young generation in the Arab world, let alone Arabs who reside in the west and do not have any Arabic keyboard. There has been some online application that deals with this problem. But Yamli was the pioneer in making it a business, it has an online editor, API, innovative search that is built on top of the concept and a Firefox toolbar which now is updated to version 1.0. Google followed yamli’s steps and came up with Ta3reeb an online Arabic Transliteration editor and now with an API . Onkoosh on the other hand provides it via its search engine only.
Maren supports the following platform Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista and it supports the following applications: Internet Explorer 7.0 Internet Explorer 7.0, Microsoft Outlook 2007, Microsoft Word 2007, Windows Live Messenger 8.5, Windows Live Messenger 9.0, Yahoo messenger 9.0, Google talk, Firefox 3.0, according to Maren help file.
However under testing I found out that it supports many more: Notepad, Chrome, FF3.5 and TweetDeck. I also found out it is very accurate and much better than Google’s Ta3reeb in terms of accuracy and because you can edit your translated entry easily.
Yamli on the other hand, has recently revealed that 76,645,541 words have been typed with Yamli , many websites and applications has been utilizing Yamli’s API to spread Arabic transliteration elsewhere such as As7ab and Clipat Maktoob, Ikbis, Yamli messenger 1.0 that works with msn messenger plus live, Yamli wordpress plugin (WP Yamli) and Easy Arabic: a desktop application that transliterate Arabic text and sends them to a collection of applications.
Though the debut of Maren is a serious challenge to Yamli, because if you have it installed, you do not need to use any transliteration software or plugins, to type on msn or the web, since it is already there on the desktop. Habib Haddad, cofounder of Yamli commented on Maren launch by saying:
“It’s a good effort from Microsoft, and I guess they know how to recognize a good idea when they see it. As an Arabic startup we are flattered to see this happen but do remained focused on innovating to better serve our users. We want to thank all who support us in our path and ask them to stay tuned for some cool new releases.”
Marin was developed by Cairo Microsoft Innovation Lab (CMIC), which I visited early this year and met with its team. I emailed Ahmed El-Shimi, Group Manager – Development & Incubations of (CMIC) and asked him whether Marin will be incorporated into Bing and preinstalled with every Windows machine in the future, I’ll keep you updated when he replies.